UK companies offered the opportunity to scale into Asia through the Global Incubator Programme – Gateway to Asia

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AUTHOR: Tilly St Aubyn

Government innovation agency, Innovate UK, and Singapore-based VC fund, GROW, have partnered to launch The Global Incubator Programme – Gateway to Asia to enable UK innovators to expand into Asia with particular focus on ASEAN markets. Supported too by Innovate UK EDGE, a business scaling service, the virtual twenty-week programme will offer market-specific assistance to raise the profile of UK food and agriculture innovation among food manufacturers, agribusinesses and investors in South East Asia.

Restriction on business travel caused by COVID 19 coupled with the complexity of Asian markets make it challenging for UK companies to penetrate the region, thus the programme aims to build pathways for international collaboration. It will deliver clarity and guidance for UK companies to navigate these new markets and allow them to gain traction internationally, whilst building their businesses remotely from the UK.

The programme is integrated with GROW’s Land x Launch™ platform, which will enable UK companies to connect with founders across the agri-foodtech ecosystem in Asia. It will include access to GROW’s regional and international networks of mentors, market experts, research partners and corporate customers.

The programme is open to UK companies, including those working in controlled environmental agriculture, sustainable food production, alt-protein, functional ingredients, food traceability and food waste reduction, says the press release.

Kara Owen, British High Commissioner to Singapore, said: “Congratulations to Innovate UK and GROW on the launch of this Global Incubator Programme – the first between the UK and Singapore, and another collaboration under our SG-UK Partnership for the Future. This programme connects our agrifood innovation ecosystems more closely at a time when the world is facing unprecedented global disruptions prompted by issues such as the pandemic and climate change. Our innovators will be supported to work on issues such as food security and sustainability, where the applications could benefit not just our own two countries but the entire world. Just as the UK’s new National Innovation Strategy intends, this innovation collaboration is designed to really push the boundaries in R&D for transformational technologies that can help us all build back better.”

Joshua Soo, CEO of GROW, added: “Our mission at GROW is to be the gateway to Asia for international scaleups. Entering into a new market is never easy and you need trusted partners. We want to be that to founders, and help their solutions make a positive impact to producers and consumers in the diverse Asia markets.”

David Golding, Head of Global Innovation Partnerships at Innovate UK commented: “Innovate UK is really pleased to be launching its Global Incubator Programme in Singapore, working in partnership with GROW. Through the Programme, funded by Innovate UK, we are looking to help innovative UK businesses to grow and scale globally. We look forward to seeing the first cohort of UK businesses participate in the Programme in what is such a dynamic and vibrant market and the gateway to Asia.”

Applications for the The Global Incubator Programme – Gateway to Asia are open until 12th September 2021 and the programme will run from October 2021 through to April 2022.

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